Stories Belle  

The Cherry Cough Medicine Story

Recently, I’ve looked back on a memory and can’t decide if it’s a high point or a low point. This is the cherry cough medicine story.

Do you ever look back on your childhood and think, “What the hell?”

One weekend, when I was 9 or 10, I had a pretty bad cold. I was constantly coughing and sniffling throughout the night. It eventually woke my dad up. As soon as I heard the door open from his room downstairs, I failed at trying to suppress my coughs. Yet, he said, “Belle, come downstairs.”

I knew what was to come. The Cherry Cough Medicine. My dad skipped the shot of whisky to clear the sinuses and went straight for the actual medicine. We had had this bottle for years. Part of the label was peeling off. But the red abuser clung to life like Gollum with his Precious.

I went downstairs. It was already measured out on the counter. I told my dad I didn’t want or need any.

He disagreed.

When I put the small plastic cup to my lips, I said, “I can’t do it.”

“Yes, you can.”

“I can’t.”


“It smells.”

“Plug your nose!”

I tried. Attempt failed. It didn’t touch my tongue, but I could already taste the fake cherries coming.

“It tastes bad.” I continued.

“No it doesn’t, it tastes like cherries.” Duh.

“It tastes horrible.”

“If you drink it, you’ll feel better.”

“If I drink it, I’ll throw up.”

“No you won’t, now drink it.”

Yes, I will.”

No, you won’t.”

This is maybe a pivotal point in my life. I looked my father straight in the eyes, and tossed it back.

And as soon as it came down, it came back up. I dove for the trashcan under the nearby sink. My dad panicked, “No! Don’t spit it out!” But as soon as he heard the hurling, he realized he messed up. Please, father, I would’ve used the sink if I was going to spit it out. You don’t puke in sinks (Alex, if you’re reading this, there’s a lesson to be learned here).

I finished my act that would’ve had a standing ovation by all the other children who hate cherry cough syrup, simply wiped my mouth, and looked at him for a response.

He said, “Okay, go to bed.”

The end.

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